Cassette, originally released 2007 on Beyond Repair.
Side A: 1) Sing Holy Song; 2) Wraecca; 3) Descending Form Side B: 1) A Candle Over Marsh Frost; 2) Blyssed Be Thu Kynge; 3) Dance of the Landless Lord; 4) Audime
Thanks to Jonas & Simon for the original release, and Phil Todd for lending me his harmonium.
Track B2 based on a poem by Richard Rolle.
"Xenis Emputae Travelling Band is the alias of Phil Legard, an Englishman deeply engrossed in the Druidic past of his native land. XETB claims to channel the spirit of historic sites, where much of his material is recorded. While I certainly donât doubt that history leaves a psychic footprint on a place, or that people can experience this condensation of time, memory, and emotionâwhether that experience be ârealâ or imaginary (if that matters)âI find this to be an incomplete description. XETB is certainly no empty vessel or mere medium; on Gamaaea at least, Legard is also deeply engaged with finding the soul of the instrument, its relationship with place, time and performer. While his melancholy guitar arrangements have been explored by countless windswept British folkies over the years, the most interesting material on Gamaaea probes the harmonium or reed organ.
"If he intends to channel a space, the harmonium provides the perfect mechanism for such a process. It shapes and plays the very air of the surrounding environment, transmogrifying it into beautiful, brittle wheeze. The sound is one of mortal fragility, something easily forgotten and always on the verge of ceasing. The instrument has long been prized for this grim quality: from Nico's dire ruminations to David Tibet's mystic apocalyptica. Legard takes a more delicate approach. His harmonium works, gently complemented by pennywhistle, guitar, and a light falsetto, glow with reverence. He treats the instrument as a gardener would a rare flowering plant.
"It would be easy to treat this release as another bead on the freak-folk necklace first strung by Incredible String Band and Vashti Bunyan. Legard makes no secret of his love of folk, but his music is far too personal to reduce to a genre description. While the chic may have moved on from such a sound, the passionate feel no need to retreat from themselves." - Bryan Berge, Stylus Magazine